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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 7, 2015 10:30pm-12:01am EST

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the criminal justice system. we'll talk about his legacy as chief justice in this area rmt and our final one is rowe v. wade in two weeks from now. if you missed any of our cases and learn ago long way the -- learning along the way, we have a book available companion to the series. it is $8.95 available on the website and written by a veteran supreme court reporter and highlights of the decision and the impact or the legacy of each case. and that is easily available to you as a way to catch up. and then all of the cases are posted on our website. as we close out here tonight, i want to say thank you to doug smith for giving us the historical background of this case. ted olson for your legal expertise and for giving us insight into what it is like to be in court and how it operates. appreciate that extra color. thanks for your time tonight. ♪
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up next here on c-span 3, a conversation about isis i inspired radicals in the u.s.
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and then democratic and republican strategists on campaign finance. after that a discussion about gun violence and public health. and later, the head of immigration and customs enforcement at the hispanic national bar association. we are joined now by lorenzo vedino which is a george washington university, the director of the extremism program, a new program at george washington university. glad you could be here to talk about the issue. there is a lot of talk about the san bernardino, california shooters were radicalized. what does that mean, to be radicalized. >> that has become the term of choice. it means they adopted an extremist ideology, for all kinds of ideology, in this case isis-related ideology and the support of the violence. in this case, it is the idea of supporting the creation of an islamic state. the way isis see it, most muslims do not agree that is an
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islamic state. and as i said, the support of violence, whether it is in iraq or in other parts of the middle east or in the west against anybody that opposes that political idea. so other muslims. werners, you name it. >> what does radical islam mean. a lot of debate around those words and whether or not you use them? >> it is absolutely a very big political debate about whether it is correct or not to use that term and i understand why it is difficult for some. and it is a very important debate to have. though we started that debate right after 9/11 and we got into a solution now. i think the idea is that there is a movement in the middle east and i think we've seen it for almost 100 years but over the last, 20, 25 years it has really grown that uses frames that come from the rlg of islam to enhance a political agenda. we have some that are violent, the muslim brotherhood which is
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nonviolent and then groups like al qaeda or isis. >> so they are just taking certain phrases from the koran. >> they take a literal interpretation of the parts of the koran. most muslim clerics would disagree with the way isis and al qaeda interpret the koran, the sunna, muslim religious texts. they take a literalist approach and a historical approach. they can choose, they cherry-pick certain verses that fit their political agenda. but it is a powerful message because of course it builds on muslim and islamic frames and it is very powerful and appeals to a lot of people. >> i want to get your reaction to the president in his oval office address last night, talking about this growth of extremism. take a look. >> that does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some muslim communities. it is a real problem that muslims must con front without
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excuse. muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like isis and al qaeda promote. to speak out against acts of violence and the enterpretations of islam incompatible with religious tolerance and respect and human dignity. but just as it is the responsibility of muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of the all americans of every faith to reject discrimination. >> mr. vetino, what did you make of what the president said there? >> well probably one of the strongest speech that president obama gave on the subject. not just for islamic, but radicalism. first of all, i think it is powerful he talked about ideology. there is is a big debate in
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washington on the role of ideology and whether poverty causes it and this is a big clear that ideology is a big factor. there is other factors. radicalize is a complex process. but ideology is a big problem. poverty doesn't cause ideology. and second, very interesting, he not only went after and condemned violent ideas, most extremism in general, he specifically mentioned, i think this is the first time he does that, he talks about ideas that are unacceptable, because they are misogynistic and against values that are human. but not just violent but ideas that are unacceptable. >> the idea that it doesn't come from poverty, that it comes from an ideology, what does that mean for people in the united states, americans who are attracted to the message, the ideology? because you've done a recent
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report, isis in america, from retreats to iraqa. >> we looked at cases of individuals charged in the united states for isis-related activities and this is again one of the big takeaways, is that it is not about poverty. here we have all kinds of individuals from all walks of life. different levels of socioeconomic integration. but for the most part they are well integrated people based on social economic standards we don't know the instance of san bernardino for example. but both had degrees, both the husband and the wife. one was somebody who came recently to the united states. but the husband was born-and-bred in the united states, went to college and had a good-paying job. so on the surface, quite well integrated. no issues of poverty, of discrimination, marginalization there. different people become attracted to a certain ideology. we have seen it. we can't reduce extremist
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ideology with poverty. we have seen it with other extremist views. people get attracts for different rues. it might have something to do with that but it is not important. >> 250 americans traveled or attempted to travel to syria or iraq to join isis. this is as of fall of 2015. 900 active investigations against isis sympathizers in all 50 states are underway. 71 individuals have been charged with isis related actives since march of 2014 and 56 have been arrested in 2015. those numbers that that large when you look at the entire population of the united states. >> we are talking about a statistically significant phenomen phenomenon. this is one of the remarks of the president. we could not miss one of the biggest mistakes lumped together this mold number of extremists with the numbers of -- of the 2 point something million of american muslims. there are peaceful, well integrated and rejecting the
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extremist ideology. from the security point of view the numbers are concerning. because we never see this degree of mobilization in past. al qaeda did attract some americans. but generally we used to see around 15, 20 people charged every year. this year we're already at 56, 57. the number of people that are attracted to the ideology visible on social media are north of a thousand. it is a substantial number. obviously the biggest mistake would be to make this about islamic, about a muslim community here. 40% of individuals who have been charged in the u.s. are converts. most of them, new converts. people who converted to islam online and two weeks later are attracted to isis. so it is not a matter of the muslim community. although the muslim community does have to play a role in going after this ideology. >> and what is attractive to americans who are converts to -- to islam? >> it is difficult to say because even among the converts,
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we have so many diverse backgrounds. we have petty criminals. we have graduate students. all kind of ethnic back growns, all kinds of walks of life. i'm relubt ant to generalize. i think it is a sense of identity and belonging in a certain community. many people are not well adjusted and they find a sense of belonging in this community. i think in some cases the ultimate rebellion. people have been attracted by other rebellious ideology 20 years ago. today what is more rebellion than isis. >> and the average age is 26 years old when people are seeking out their identity and 86% are male. >> and if you take out two or three cases of people in their 40s, when the average age, skew the numbers, the age goes down to early 20s. we've seen quite a few cases of teenagers. in many cases, cases of teenage rebellion or search for identity.
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which could have serious security implications. but it is a matter of young people looking for a certain message. and i think that is the role that families and communities have to play. this is what the president was talking about. the fbi could not be there and preventative work. they step in once the radicalization process has reached a certain point. but there should be preventative work done with communities and civil society to stop and interpresent radicalization and stop it possibly. >> and how do you do that? >> well, i think there are places, in european countries, there are experiences where there are mentors, there are basically structures whether done by civil society or by local authorities. the detect signs of radicalization and stop people from further radicalizing, you have similar programs for gangs here in the u.s. and i think it should be treated as a similar phenomenon. the way brits see it is it is a
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social ill. and the young people are victims of radicalization. it is a message that attracts. like grooming for pedophiles. so we have a system in place to detect the signs and try to help young people going in a different direction. we don't have radicalization and it is high time we do have a program. >> let's dig in with viewer. darrell in long beach, california,in dependent. you're up first. >> [ inaudible ] working at the george washington university, and your skills being in extremism. >> yep. >> what real bothers me is you guys are all talking about circumstances and that that are overwhelming when you look at here in the united states, peopling going in the liquor stores and small delicatessen places or whatever and way more people dying from somebody going in and robbing and doing those kind of things. and yet the commander and chief of this case for some reason or
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another thinks it is okay to send nuke lar weapons to belgium, netherlands, and turkey. and those nations at one time, some of them used to be our enemies. and i can't comprehend why you would send a nuclear weapons anywhere because if somebody gets a hold of those because there is an upsetting of a whole nation, especially a nation like germany, now we equipped the company with nuclear weapons and what will happen when that happens. and so what is happening. the world's love is getting cold. >> and your thoughts. >> i'm not sure the dynamics of the -- the caller is talking about. but he mentioned nato allies. those are countries for a long time have had based, i'm personally touched by mentioning italy which is my country of origin, which is a reliable ally for the last 60, 70 years.
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the u.s. have had military facilities in all of these places, turkey included, which is now -- a clear strategic partner with a lot of short comings. but generally speaking, nato country and therefore an ally. the u.s. had long had military bases there. nuclear weapons are in some cases part of the arsenal that the u.s. keeps there. these are all countries that are stable, to be very honest. i don't see germany being toppled by any kind of revolutionary force there. but that is a strategy of the u.s. since world war ii. >> the isis sympathizers in the united states, are they necessarily all attracted to and will commit acts of violence? and i ask that because of what the caller said and the mere times -- "the new york times" reports that the death toll from jihadist terrorism since the september 11 attacks, 45 people, both tolls are small fraction of
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the number of conventional murderers, more than 200,000 in the same period. >> absolutely. there is a big debate about this. this is a debate for the media to some degree. how much do you cover. the disproportionality coverage, this jihadist-inspired terrorism, receives compared to other forms of extremism and i think it would be fair if san bernardino had been carried out by individuals motivated by some other ideology it wouldn't have gotten the same coverage. i think it is fair to say. >> does that contribute to the attraction of isis because of all of the media coverage and the discussion about it. >> not necessarily. i think people are attracted by the ideology and the success they have having on the ground in syria and iraq. i think that is the main driver. i think you might argue some people have never been interested in the isis message might be attracted by this but not generally speaking. these people follow certain kind of media, not the mainstream american debate. but som#tt to the
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disproportionality to how the media treats jihadist-inspired terrorism, international and domestic terrorism. and i think that is a fair argument to make. and the kind of emotions that it triggers. the moment it becomes international terrorism, then everything you know, becomes much more intense, much more polarizing. and that is probably not the right way of saying it. if you look at it by the numbers. true, right wing extremism in different shapes does kill more. at the same time, it is international terrorism, the one isis inspired but it is a global movement that poses a different threat from a geopolitical point of view but that is undeniable. there is no right-wing movement controlling a country the size of france in the middle east and trying to expand its reach globally. so there is that part. domestically, yes, i understand. but globally, i think that is clearly the larger threat.
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>> dawn in royhill, california. >> hello. boy, greta, please let the people talk. let the people that call in, let them talk. >> all right, don, you're on. >> please: okay. listen to me. now this guy here, he's -- arabian, arab. >> he is italian. he's from italy. >> we are in the end days -- end times. please don't cut me off because this guy called in and talking about the bible earlier. and he talked about nobody don't know what the bible is talking about. but these are the end times, okay. and there is nothing nobody can do about what is going on now. because the first and the second world war has been here and the third war is coming, says the bible, okay. so now the reason why we're in jehosefah because he said he would please all nations which
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is iraq and the middle east. would the hurt and the harm that all of you nations have done to the israelite people who are the blacks here in america. blacks, hispanics and american and -- and native americans here in america. now arabs, the lord said, in the last days, ishmael will be a wild man. and no one will like him. all nations will hate him and he will hate all nations, okay. so now this is the bible talking. and the bible is telling us that the world is about to be destroyed and the third world war and this is the beginning of the third world war. >> okay. don. we got your point. we heard that. what do you make -- the third world war is something the king of jordan is also saying. this is their third world war. >> i think internally, in the arab world, in the middle east, the problems we're seeing
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geopolitically, if you are jordan, you are surrounded by extreme problematic situations. i won't go to the point of calling it a third world war. but for the region, it is. i would be very cautious and reluctant to make it into a religious prophecy, doomsday kind of analysis. but what we are seeing from a geopolitical point in the middle east is extremely intense. with a variety of forces clashing. and sectarian under tones which we have not seen in a long time in sanctuaries and that is problematic because this narrative of the end of times is shaping, not just isis but also other forces on the ground in the middle east. so that is extremely problematic. countries wi countries with sunni and shiite and living side by side and marriages are polarized and how to change the dynamic, go back to peaceful existence between those groups is very difficult
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and would take a long time. >> to baltimore next. jim, democrat. hi, jim. >> good morning, greta. >> how are you? >> doing well, sir. >> i have to make a are you? >> very well. i have to make a comment. and for about 35 years now, i've been treated by muslim doctors ever since i had cancer, and they've taken care of my mother, my sister and myself. my whole family, but what i can't understand is why that donald trump spews this hatred against all muslims and then not to expect our young muslim students who are now in colleges and medical school and in our grade schools not to be radicalized when they hear him say that muslims' families should be killed? it just doesn't make any sense. this is pure hatred in every way. and when, when you get a young
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child whose brain is growing, and you hear and see things like donald trump is spewing on television, you are infesting their minds with hatred against america. >> yeah, i don't think that trump said that muss llim famil should be killed. but the front coming from some candidates has been quite strong. and as the caller correctly said, it's planted a seed in the minds. and it tells people in the young muslims in the west, you don't belong there, that society hates you, you're never going to belong. come to the caliphate. has this dichotomy, evil west, good muslims. that polarization message is what isis wants. the whole idea ofs.
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she sure, it's to kill people. >> senator rand paul reacting to what the president had to say yesterday saying if we're going to fight isis, it immediates ne boots on the ground. do you think's important who's fighting who? >> i think western boots on the ground i think are the, if we see another invasion with massive ground troops, special operations is a different thing, a bit more hidden as it is now, it's one thing, but i think large western operation would bring force to the isis narrative of, you know, of colonization. the problem also is what kind of
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troops do you use on the ground when you talk about middle even troops. i think a lot of the work that has been done in iraq for example, the boots that we have seen are shia militia and iranian, iranian support and shia. and i think most sunni arabs are very uncomfortable in seeing shia militia, some who are just as extreme as isis on the other side being the ones to occupy their territory. so that's the problem. kurdish boots on the ground. the kurds have been great, but you cannot expect the kurds to control arab arias of iraq. that is the difficulty with finding boots on the ground that are acceptable. >> and turkey doesn't want the kurds to get too much momentum, because it could cause domestic problem for them. >> absolutely. you don't want the shia militia in iran. the kurds do not want the kurds.
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that's the whole crux of the matter. >> hi, greta, hi, mr. betino. first of all, do we know the objective that isis is fighting, is looking for? and do we actually, do we know what our objective for the middle east there. is the objective of isis trying to secure their culture? their law, like sharia law, where we're trying to yes, ma'am pose minority rights, more minority rights? is that why we're over there, number one? and if so, if that's the case. wouldn't that be more of a united nations mission rather than a western ally mission? and i guess my third point would be is, if that is the premise,
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then, you know, we're over there bombing, doing all this bombing of them people, how many are innocent muslims are we killing over there? and does that even help our cause? >> okay, chris. >> lots of very good questions. isis goals are clear. they state it pretty clearly. they want to create a caliphate. they want to create an islamic state, which is ever expansionist, that is not going to stop. if you look at the maps they put out, basically that state would expand from the core, which is now what used to be syria and used to be iraq, parts of those two countries, expand through the region and control all countries where you see a muslim majority and even reconquer parts of what used to be muslim empire, so spain, southern italy, the balkans. they want to create a society that is run by a strict interpretation of sharia. the term sharia itself is
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islamic law. you can interpret it many ways. there are many countries that use sharia, but there's no such thing as one sharia, the one that isis chooses is extremely strict, extremely literalist and non-flexible. so we see the society imposed where you have stoning of homosexuals, all types of punishments. this is the strategic goal that they have and a clear goal of what they want society to look like. it's a bit more complicated to see what our goals are. there's obviously the goal of stopping isis from spreading and attacking other countries because of this expansionist goal that they have. what kind of societies we want in place? i think the idea, first of all, the president bush idea was to explore democracy and democracy would be the solution to the problems of the middle east. i think that agenda has not really been followed by president obama e and, and i th
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we're content with whatever regimes we can find that are not necessarily adversarial. there's a more indirect spore of democracy but a less aggressive agenda. acceptance of regimes that are clearly undemocratic, given the circumstances, given how problematic it is, i do think the fingers of the arab spring, the regimes we see even undemocratic are probably the next best thing. should it be a u.n. effort? ideally, the ideal is to build a coalition and make it involve the legal requirements from an international law point of view. and obviously, the civilian victims, that's a huge part of it. it is obviously impossible. even the most surgical way, the way bombings are being done right now by the u.s. at least,
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to basically have, not have civilian victims. will isis use those civilian victims to boost its case that america is killing the muslims? absolutely, they will. >> okay. we'll go to chris next in stocksburg, new york, an independent, chris, you are on the air with lorenzo betina, go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: that's to me? >> yeah, that's to you. >> caller: the follow up is if it should be a u.n. mission, but if we're going in there and basically, you know, the only thing everybody is seeing is the soldiers from different countries rather than a u.n. mission, and i think that's what the problem is, because then when you have all these nations going in there, wearing their
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colors and everything, then it seems like, you know, it's the united states and britain and france and everybody else against the muslims. >> okay. >> caller: where -- >> we got that point. we're going to james from watkinsville, georgia, a republican. >> caller: first, you referred twice to the "new york times" article there with the numbers of murders by both terrorists and white supremacist there. do either one of you all know the actual homicide rate ranking of the united states? >> james? do you knee, mr. betino? >> no. >> so what's your point. >> caller: okay, the united states has the most guns per capita of any country in the world. however, we rank 111th in total
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homicide rate. we are not even in the upper half of homicides. so the "new york times" makes these statements about how horrible things are. and actually, if you took out the top ten cities, that are all, by the way, democratically controlled, their rates would drop to 210th in homicide rates in the world. so all this business about gun violence has got to be put into some sort of perspective. you know, the "new york times" is not doing that. >> okay. thank you, james, for calling up and making that point. bob, in shasta lake, california, a democrat. hi, bob. >> caller: hi, how are you? >> doing well, your question or comment? >> caller: i have a speech impediment, so please don't cut me off. you read an article about the
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difference between domestic violence and other terror. the difference between isis or al qaeda or the jihadis is if they had their way, they would come here, and they would, you know, a mass destruction bomb or something like that. that's what they would, i mean, if they had something to take out america, you know, the whole thing, they would do it. these other lone wolf shooters that they're shooting up theaters and stuff like that, you know, that, that's totally different. they want to kill us all. they, and that's what the people are really scared of, when they think of that. they think of them coming and just doing something very horrible. >> okay. mr. betina? >> yes, i think to some extent he is correct. although there have been movements here in the u.s. that
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have pretty atrocious plots, like poisoning water supplies which would have caused thousands and thousands of deaths, but it's true, at this point, the only extremist group that exists globally with certain capabilities to carry out mass atrocities are jihadist inspired, so isis, al qaeda, et cetera, plot like 9/11. a pin we should take this with a pinch of salt. remember a paper al qaeda put out called a dirty bomb for a dirty nation. we know they try to acquire nuclear capabilities. trying to acquire and carrying out something like that, big difference. there is a mind set in some of these groups which are fringe,
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but they have a global reach. that's undeniable. >> they have a global reach. something the president talked about last night is that the social media has erased distances between countries. you talked about that in your new report. isis to america, from retweets. there's a story about facebook, twitter, trying to crackdown on terrorism messages on their websites. >> it's a big debate going on for a while. and there's a lot of issues coming to the first amendment, what do you take down, what is extremist language. but social media has been used by isis. isis puts out a lot of propaganda, but its individuals who were not formerly affiliated with isis spread this propaganda. and it goes around, and some of them are in the united states. so the first time you get in touch with isis, by the time you mobilize, social media takes a
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role. remember the attack in garland, texas. here you had the shooters, but a few minutes before going in to try to kill people were tweeting with people in isis in syria, that were telling them, go, go kill. and they started the #texas attack. that connectivity. the fbi director described it in a very vivid way. he said's like having the devil on your shoulder saying kill, kill, kill. it's egging on that speeds up this process of radicalization. so you can be in san bernardino, you can be anywhere you are, and you can connect with the real deal, with isis. and that is something that is completely novel and very difficult for law enforcement to crackdown on. >> what about the dark web? how are they using that? >> there are obviously reports, but they're moving into more encrypted and difficult to penetrate platforms as well as dark web, whether it's
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applications like snap chat and so on. it's very difficult for the february to catch up from a technological point of view. encrypted messages, that you need subpoenas. it's extremely, extremely difficult. i think it's going to be, a lot of individuals don't have links to isis. they just talk amongst themselves. so there is messaging with outside people which allows them to intercept. it's all domestic. very difficult for the fbi. >> frank from louisiana, independent. you're next, good morning. >> caller: thanks, how you doing? >> caller: if we're so concerned about isis, why are we not bringing back the draft? >> why aren't we bringing back the draft? and why do you think we should, frank? >> caller: if we are that fearful in this country as we were during world war ii, we draft. and the war was over with in no time. >> okay. charles?
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in oakland, arkansas, hi, charles, democrat. >> caller: yes, ma'am, i have a question for mr. lorenzo. >> mr. betino? go ahead. >> caller: the koran, is there more than one koran? >> is there more than one koran? >> no. there's just one koran. >> why do you ask, charles? >> caller: i don't, i've never read it, but i was wondering if it's true that it says death to infiddl infiddlel infidels. >> okay. there's one book, like any other book it's open to interpretation. you can read any text in any way you want. there are parts of the koran that indeed say things that if interpreted in a literalist way quite strong where they talk about killing muslims and so on and so forth. there's a literalist way of reading that and a historical way. the historical part is the battles that the prophet
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mohammed fought with his followers against pagans, and jews and so on. it was part of the early days of islamic history. and obviously, you can read them in a historical way and put it in context, or you can do what isis and al qaeda do and use a lesson that comes from the 7th century, applied to the 21st century. so as any text, it's all about interpretation. >> lebanon, new jersey, mike, you're next. independent. >> caller: sir, i'm interested in your comments today, but you seem to not address what the real islamic world is in this war. and that is forget about isis, forget about al nusra and al qaeda. it's saudi arabia. they are the orchestraters. they are coordinating greater sunni governments, and we, united states, your friend, barack obama has piggybacked and
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got his boots on the ground already to overthrow the governments in the middle east. that's what this is all about. the boots on the ground, of course we're not going to have u.s. boots on the ground. they already have their boots on the ground. turkey, saudi arabia, and vice president biden said this three years ago in a speech out of harvard. i cannot believe the saudis and turks are pouring in millions and millions of weapons and our weapons for his war on shias, and that is a fact. and the other thing i want to mention. >> okay, so mike, we're running out of time. i want mr. betino to address what you're saying. >> there's been a cold war going on almost for 40 years between iran and saudi arabia. both interpreting their religion in an intense way and trying to geopolitically outdo each other. we've seen the struggle go from cold to hot, to very hot.
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and indeed, the saudis have spread in a very militant, very fundamentalism sunni islam. and they have funded certain groups that aren't sunni militant, not necessarily isis, but al nusra and other groups on the ground in syria. but we can extend that to the whole region. the relationship between saudi arabia and the u.s. is extremely complicated. it has to do a rlot with oil, o course. and the saudis have been reliable on a certain level. and on other things we've run completely against the agenda. very complex relationship. >> j.d. in texas, a republican. hi, there. >> caller: hello, my question is, how can we be called an exclusionary country when we can't go to mecca or medina. i think it's incumbent upon the muslim leaders worldwide to change those policies and become
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more inclusive before we're expected to be held to those standards, and it's not that we need to throw out the best foot forward first. it's they are exclusionary force in this world, and we are not, and everybody knows that. >> let's take that point. >> we shouldn't generalize. talking about the muslim world, which is something i did myself. it is something somewhat incorrect. you have different countries, completely different levels of tolerance from country to country. in saudi arabia you cannot go to mecca, to the holy city. it's for muslims only to go there. i'm not necessarily sure the u.s. should be applying the same standard and be exclusionary ourselves. not necessarily a comment on the policy there. it's something the saudis do for some religious reason. the fact that it happens there doesn't mean we should apply the same standard. exclude them from what? exclude them from rome, the
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center of christianity? i don't think that makes any sense. the president talked about intolerance in some of the most conservative parts of the muslim world which needs to be addressed, which are problematic, and there's sort of a civil war within islam taking place where the moderate force is fighting for the soul of islam. it's undeniably happening. what we are seeing is exactly that taking place in the middle east. it's not just sunni and shias it's muslimists. >> islam's mystery order. the conservative movement is sweeping the mideast. is it an antidote? >> that was a missionary movement spreading the message of islam. so depending exactly what movement they're profiling,
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clearly there's a lot of conservative forces in the muslim world that are, that have gained traction, that have been supported largely by the saudis and other countries, qatar comes to mind also, that have been very aggressive in pumping billions into spreading a very conservative interpretation of islam. and there has been a major change in the way muslims interpret islam globally today compared to 50 years ago. because of this money pouring in supporting a very conservative view of islam you have par of the world, like asia, i think of the sub sahara areas of the world. today we see a major shift. you would not see women veiled or some other forms of conservative clothing in the balkans 20 years ago. now you do see that. so there is a struggle taking place. very difficult for the west to intervene in that for a variety
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of reasons. very difficult for the west to be part of what has to be inevitably an internal muslim debate. >> a little bit from the christian science monitor, they said the task is to travel lightly. they've gone to 200 countries, including the united states, but in the past four years, no region has seen faster growth than the arab world. they insist, though, the people, the supporters that it's a peaceful movement, non-violent and harbors no hatred for other peoples. john, in pennsylvania. go ahead. >> caller: it's somewhat confusing, but i was wondering if you could explain -- i can't pronounce it right. and that that was in 1932 saudi
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arabia the house of saud accepted the state-sanctioned, and maybe we should boycott saudi arabia and kind of force them into allowing a more progressive viewpoint, i guess, where freedom of religion -- >> all right. let's take your question. >> two terms he brought up that come up often. i don't think an a lot of people understand it. simplifying, wahabi is a saudi version e one to revert to the early days of the prophet mohammed and follow their examples. and they interpret the koran in a quite literalist way. a lot of people would argue that basically isis, al qaeda are sort of salaughist groups on steroids. they apply a literalist
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interpretation and have been more aggressive in a militant way. the endless debate is groups that are conservative. are we okay with them from a social point of view? and one thing with this movement in the west, applying certain views when it comes to tolerance to women's rights, homosexuals. and second is what is relationship between this very conservative but not necessarily violent organizations and violence. there's an argument that they are sort of the gateway to violent militancy. if you argue, you cannot apply violence, but you can see how somebody would take it to the next level which is using violence to achieve those goals. one of our best allies in the middle east, saudi arabia, has been propagating this ideology,
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billions and billions. boycotting saudi arabia is hardly the u.s. policy and something probably not feasible and not reasonable to be honest, because obviously, there are major, major financial and geopolitical interests there. the role that the oust can have in changing saudi society i think is sub zero. having said that, there is something to putting pressure on those countries, and particularly saudi. and stopping funding these things overseas. >> if you want to learn more about extremism in general, go to gw's website, there's the report. isis in america from retweets to raqqah. you can also follow the
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program at gwpoe. thank you very much for the conversation. appreciate it. coming up at 10:00 eastern, the house hears from the oversight council. among the witnesses, mary jo white and richard cordray. that's live on c-span 3 at 10:00 eastern. she was such an authentic person. >> i always thought there was more to the store eve lady bird than anybody had covered. she became, i think, the first modern first lady. in other words, she had a big staff, a very important project. she wrote mother boher book as she left the white house. she really invented the modern first lady.
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>> sunday night on q&a, a historian discusses her book lady bird and lyndon. she releases pages of the former first lady's diary, giving a first look at lady bird johnson. >> lady bird johnson is a perfect example, those women saw something in those men, the ambition, the opportunity to really climb and make a mark on the world and they married them in spite of parental objection. so she's a good example of that. that's why i decided i had to find out more about her. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific. the commonwealth club of california held a hearing on campaig campaigns and reform.
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>> good evening and welcome to today's meeting of the commonwealth club of california. the place where you're in the know. find the commonwealth club on the internet at commonwealth or download the club's iphone and android app for program and schedule information and pod casts of past programs. i'm kirk hanson, executive director of the markelous center at santa clara university. a member of the advisory board of the club and your moderator for today's program. today we're going to take an inside look at the way political campaigns really work and in turn, the american political system. campaigns, of course, are still
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seem to be all about the money, and donald trump's personal funds aside, most of that money needs to be raised through various interests. the "new york times" recently reported that to date 158 families have contributed $176 million to the republican and democratic presidential spainu campaigns. at least $250,000 per family. what monetary rules actually governor campaigns, and how often are they broken? what role might campaign finance laws play in the 2016 campaign and beyond? in the big picture view, what is the thinking that governs political campaigns? and how does that impact the messages we receive and the candidates who ultimately emerge on top. today you'll meet the government
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official who oversees the financing of federal elections, along with two long-time strategists from opposite sides of the aisle. they will share insights on the way political campaigns are actually run. and we'll ask whether it's possible to be both ethical and victorious. it's now my pleasure to introduce our panelists. ann ramal is the chair of the federal election commission, having been nominated by president obama and u nam mussily confirmed by the u.s. senate. she previously served as vice chair and commissioner starting in 2013. prior to her federal service, ms. ramal was chair of the california fair political practices commission where she oversaw the regulation of campaign finance, ethics and conflicts of interest related to
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officeholders and public employees in california. before that, ms. ramal was depude deputy attorney general in the united states department of justice. mr. smith's roster of democratic party clients has included hillary clinton, dianne feinstein, barbara boxer, jerry brown, chicago mayor richard daly and howard dean. in california, mr. smith successfully directed los angeles mayor antoniole villa rosa's campaign and was active in cam la harris's campaign.
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he also ran san francisco mayor ed lee's first campaign. he's been called lengthen dare eye. that sounds like the end of your career. [ laughter ] played a central role in the centr 2000 florida recount. he currently represents numerous political parties, individuals and corporations specializing in election law issues. mr. ginsberg also serves as counsel to the republican governor's association. he has been a guest lecturer at
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the stanford university law school, a fellow at harvard, before entering law school, mr. ginsburg spent five years as a journalist. please welcome all of our panelists. [ applause pla [ applause ] i will ask our panelists questions and then integrate your questions from the questions you write on cards. let me start by giving the audience more of a sense of who you are and what you do. mr. ravel what powers does federal election collision actually have and what does it mean to quote, oversee federal elections? >> you know, i wasn't certain you were going to ask that question, and i don't know if you've all seen the "house of
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cards." there's an actual part in it where the main character, frank underwood, is about to run for president. and there is concern by the members of his party about super pacs and the influence that super pacs have. and he said in response, i'm not the fec, i can't wave a magic wand. and i just want to be known that the fec doesn't wave magic wands at all. and i can't either. basically, the fec oversees campaign finance issues. it does not oversee campaigns. generally. or elections. even though that's in its title. what we are mainly concerned
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with is disclosure. it was established after water gate and the purpose of it was to restore trust in government, because watergate was essentially a campaign finance issue. and there was a lot of sense of distrust in the public. and they, it was necessary to have an agency that could both require disclosure and also enforce, because there previously to that had not been any enforcement mechanism in the federal government. >> so what kind of issues come before the fec? what's the work of the six commissioners? >> there's a variety. we can either give opinions to people who come before us to ask us about our regulations and the applicability of them and the law to something that they would
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like to do. for example, we were asked to look at whether or not bitcoin could be used in campaigns. and so we had some -- and how it fit in with the election laws that are required. we are also charged with the responsibility of issuing regulations relating to new laws and campaign finance issues. so for example, the only regulations that we were actually able to agree on during my tenure were regulations to implement certain aspects of citizens united and the mccutchen decision. and then, of course, people can file complaints for violations. and it can range anywhere, and i can talk about these now, because they're public, although, we decide them in confidence. there was an allegation, even
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though despite the fact that he was in jail, about jesse jackson and his use of campaign funds for his personal use. and for purchasing mink coats for his spouse. >> this is jesse jackson jr. >> jr. and we have a number of personal use kinds of issues. there are complaints about illegal coordination, because the supreme court has said that it is improper to coordinate with independent groups and the candidates because that is a protection of the law so that there can be independent, truly independent expenditures. >> let's get it on the table. you've been quoted frequently,
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lately, saying that the commission doesn't have much hope of doing its work during the 2016 election cycle because of a 3-3 split between democrats and republicans. and the republicans on the commission have been quoted as saying the role of the commission is not to enforce the laws which you implied, but to protect free speech in elections. who's right? >> well, of course, i think i'm right. there's no question about that. there's a lot of case law that says that the role of a regulatory and administrative agency is not to determine constitutionality of the law. my view is there are certain la laws, the federal election campaign act that we are sworn to uphold, and so that includes
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deciding that certain campaigns, certain committees, are required to disclose who their donors are. so that there is no dark money in our, in our elections. those are things that i think are, we're required to do. so my view of this is that there's a statement that free speech needs to be upheld. we certainly agree that the first amendment needs to be respected insofar as the supreme court, which is the arbiter of those issues or other courts has so mandated in cases that are similar. >> yeawe're going to get to you ben, so the republicans need not be worried. we did put you on the right end
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from this perspective, but left for them. ace, you're a democratic campaign manager. can you help us understand what a campaign manager's job isòh6p, you know, what, what you see as your role? >> sure, one of the biggest jobs is actually spending the money and making sure it's spent well. but let me just say one thing, which is ann is one of my heroes. and the reason why is because as a publish official had the guts in 2012, and this is something that's so lacking and something we need to talk about, to actually enforce the laws in the waning days of the 2012 election and go all the way to the california supreme court and put it on the front pages of the newspapers in california so voters could judge how money was influencing the election. so i have to say, you are a great example of thousand wohow.
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[ applause ] >> thank you. thank you very much. >> what do you do as a campaign manager? >> well -- >> was that a diversion? was that debate trick? >> yeah. the trick to running campaigns, and i really think money is a little overestimated in the sense that there's not a direct correlation to spending money and winning campaigns. campaigns that win need to have a certain amount of money. now what's tricky about california is that it's such a big state that you have to have a huge amount of money just to basically get known. so it's always a huge hurdle. and i think one of the real questions to ask in this context is what are the real purposes of these and what are the effects on campaigns. and i was curious before i came here, and earlier i pulled out the actual ballot book from 1974
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when secretary of state jerry brown passed proposition 9. and one of the early political reform acts in the country. what's fascinating, when you read through it, you read through the fine things and declarations, all of the public ills that this is supposed to cure, too much money, too many wealthy people, not enough good people running for office, they're all true today, 40-some years later, and the real question to ask is what has been the effect of these laws on all those very high-minded things that are things that we should strive for and are there other ways to actually do that? >> we're going to come back to talk more about that. but ben, can you tell us, you've been sort of at the center of much of presidential politics for the last 16 years. can you tell us what a counsel to a campaign really does?
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what your role was there? >> first of all, thanks very much for having me. it's great to be back amongst the republican base, which i -- [ laughter ] people who hire me hire me because they want to run legal and ethical campaigns. that's what an election lawyer essentially does. and all campaigns, but especially presidential campaigns are really like start-up businesses in many ways, all be it in a heavily regulated environment. so there are the election laws, the laws involving how you get people out to vote, small business laws. you're going to have employment laws, contract disputes. so it really is a broad, really marvelously diverse sort of practice, really at the heart of getting people who you believe in elected to office. >> so is there a sense amongst
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candidates that you deal with that all of these requirements for reporting and such are burdensome? or is there a sense that these are a part of running for office and satisfying the public's need to know? >> oh, i think they're pretty much baked into the cake. i mine, ace raised a really good point, which is after this particular scheme of running elections, since the 1970s, what have you achieved? is it achieving its purpose? does it get in the way of campaigns being able to reach the people? and you've got terrible turnout statistics, right? maybe 50% of the population turns out to vote, so it's not a system that's enhancing participation in any noticeable way. >> ran to what do you attribute that decline in people voting and, if you like, the lack of
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trust in the process? >> i'm not sure it's a lack of trust in the process so much as a process that doesn't properly involve people enough. one of the, one of the impacts of limiting what candidates can raise and spend, yet having a robust first amendment that the supreme court has enforced way back since 1976 in the first case to question the campaign finance laws is really how do you run a campaign as ace says, getting to talk to enough people but also spreading out your base and getting people who are not intuitively involved in politics or enjoy politics to know what's going on and want to participate. and then that, in that sense, this is not a system you can point to and say it's helped. >> let's, let's come back to a fundamental question that we're so far avoiding, which is what
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is a good campaign? what is an ethical campaign? what is a campaign that fills the role that it should play? do you want to start with that, ann? >> well, yes. and i'd like to speak to what ben just said, because what i see is campaigns that are micro targeting, whether on cable tv or on facebook to actually only speak to people that they think are going to be likely voters or for them. or people that they think are going to likely give them money. and so the campaigns themselves have limited the numbers of people that they're reaching out to. they have not tried to expand the group of potentially disaffected voters. and i personally believe that
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the disaffection of the voters doesn't relate to the campaign finance laws, although we might agree that some of the laws don't enhance any trust. it's, you know, there's certainly a lot in jerry brown's prop 9 that makes no sense, as far as i'm concerned, in that regard. at the time secretary of state. but nonetheless, the idea of having disclosure, having people be informed about who's behind campaigns and the concern about the great deal of money that's being spent in super pacs when it's only a small slice of the population that is giving that money, and the rest of the people, in the 2014 election, there were 11% fewer individuals
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who contributed to campaigns. and many, there was a whole lot more money spent, so it was as the front page of the "new york times" said yesterday, it's a very small group of extremely wealthy people who are now par mi tis pating in campaigns, but there doesn't seem to be an incentive. there doesn't seem to be a view, and i think it's an ethical question in some ways that if you are looking at the longview, and you're going to be a legislator, or even an executive, wouldn't you want to include the majority of the american people and what their interests are? because this is a representative democracy, wouldn't you want to speak to them? >> so a good campaign, from your perspective in part is one that attracts a wide range of funders
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as well as those paying attention to the message? >> yes, because i think funders, once they give, even if it's a small amount, they become more connected to the issues and to the candidates. >> so would you all agree, ben or ace, and how do you achieve, if you like, more participation via contributions than we have today with the focus on whether it's 150 or 200 families? >> i think the question's more fundamental than money. i think it's having interesting elections with interesting candidates, talking about interesting things. and actually, that's the best piece i've read on the presidential race was written by a television critic of the "new york times" on saturday where he as muchle, didn't necessarily le
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trump. admittedly, a chunk of the pie, the critic compared the other campaigns to running the equivalent of ed sullivan shows, and i think there's a lot of evils and ills in politics, and i think a lot of them go back to other things besides money, for instance, the overuse of polling, the belief that you're just going to figure out what people want to hear and just say it instead of actually taking stands and being controversial. so i think it's more fundamental than money. >> do you think candidates show that tendency more frequently now of finding out what people want to hear? >> no question about it. it's something that i think will, i think will go the way of the dinosaurs. but eventually, it's going to take, it always takes systems a long time to correct, to change, and i think we're probably at the front end of that. >> do you agree that, ben? that candidates are, you know,
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speaking to their polling? rather than speaking to their beliefs? >> i actually think it's hard to generalize that. i think there is too much of that. i think if anything, the trump/carson/bernie sanders for the democrats function, there really are people who are not listening to their polls and at least for now are having the most success. i think a fogood campaign is a campaign that the candidate knows what she or he stands for, goes out and looks for people who will support those principled beliefs. i think if anything, campaigns do not rely on microle t target. what a good campaign will do will think about the broad issues of the client. the most successful micro
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targeting is drilling down into people's characteristics. but the most successful micro targeting are people that are campaigns that find voters who basically agree with the candidate but haven't participated. expanding the electorate is the moist prized gift that a campaign manager can ever give a candidate, and that's by philosophy and message that excites people who don't normally get excited. >> mm-hm. >> we've got to face the money question head on. and what its effect is on these developments lately. let's take super pacs first. does the fact that super pacs are so much a part of the equation today even to the standpoint when reporting how much money the candidates have raised, the press has been tallying the campaign raised and the independent committees, the super pacs, what they're raising, and that, of course, as
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ann indicated has been the province more often of these very large givers. is that getting in the way of the broader participation that you think is important? >> i think what you described and what the system is today is a system that is dysfunctional and upside down. thele core of today's campaign finance system is to limit what candidates and political parties can raise. truth of the matter is that super pacs, according to the supreme court, and i believe it's good first amendment law have a right to say what they want to say. when you limit the amount of money that candidates can raise, in effect, you're enhancing the value of what a super pac brings. and if you really want candidates to control the messages of your campaign, seems to me to be the sort of institutional design we'd all want, that campaigns control the message in the debate and not super pacs, then you don't limit
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candidates, and that makes super pacs sort of less essential to the process. they have less space in which to operate. >> so does that imply that your policy prescription at this point is to take the caps off the individual campaigns as well as the super pacs? >> i think you would have a much better -- you can't put limits on super pacs. they've already established that under the supreme court, so what i would do isle increase what the candidates can raise on behalf of political parties, can raise and spend on behalf of their candidates so it is the candidates who control the message and the way a campaign is taking place now. but i want to limit super pacs. i don't think that's acceptable first amendment doctrine. >> comments from either of you on super pacs and their effect on the system? certainly, there have been complaints filed regarding coordination that the federal
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elections commission has not been able to undertake examination of. is, is that the issue we ought to be focussing on? >> i think ultimately not. and i have to disagree to some extent, because i do think that the main concern is that because people are relying, candidates are relying on super pacs and wealthy individuals to fund their campaigns, not even relating to polling or anything else, or, or having a message, a lot of them seem to be appear to be getting their messages from super pacs, because the people who are the big donors to those super pacs, and there have been a number of newspaper reports where they want to take a more active role in determining what the policy is of the campaign, and we certainly know that many of them are like shadow
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campaigns. >> mm-hm. >> but i don't think that taking off the cap for the candidates is going to ameliorate that problem. i totally agree that it is a problem, but it's a problem that is of the supreme court's making and it's a fact of life. but taking off the cap is just going to mean that the same thing is true for the candidates and the parties, and everyone will be beholden to the policy interests of a small group of people who have a lot of money, such as the ones whose houses were displayed on the front page of the "new york times" yesterday. i mean, and i don't have any problem with people having a lot of money and contributing to campaigns, but it needs to be more equal in the sense that candidates have the incentive to try to reach out to more people. >> ace, is there any way out of
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this dilemma of the supreme court has spoken regarding super pacs and now the money's flowing so freely? >> well, to borrow a yiddish term, i think it's a shan ta. it's running campaigns, i think one thing running campaigns is the vast amount of money that gets wasted by super pacs and gets used poorly because there isn't candidate control. so there does need to be a return to the equilibrium. but i also think the thing that's troubling about the whole move toward super pacs is that they get used as vehicles for, you know, all kinds of other things. and, you know, but ultimately, part of the problem is that to some degree or another, by having -- i actually think all the caps shouldn't be lifted, but i think they're too
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restrictive right now. and i think to some degree or another we've kind of said we're going to make beer and wine legal, but are surprised when someone else makes hard liquor. and that's kind of the situation we're in. >> it was interesting, justice john paul stevens in his six amendments book last year, one of his proposed six amendments would reverse basically the super pac decision, citizens united. what aboutle so-called dark mo. welfare organizations that have spent money on campaigns and do not have to report their donors? is that a problem? in terms of the credibility of elections and the ethics of elections from each of your standpoint? >> i think it's a huge problem, and i think it's a shachlt ome.
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one of the things about living in california, in california, we have all three species of campaign systems. we have the, kind of the federal system which we know, which is restricting of contributions and types of contributions. you have some ultra orthodox kind of municipal elections where there's actual ceilings in the amount of money you can spend, and there are matching funds. which another system. and then we have the initiative system which is literally the wild west. you can raise any amount of money you want for anything, all you have to do is report it. and i think the bei, you know, think as long as there's truthful reporting and people can figure out where the money's coming from and how much money's being spent, i think voters are very smart. as a matter of fact, in california, as everyone knows, we have a history of, as a state, going back decades, of
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not electing self-funders, because voters are very, very aware of money and politics and actually will base their decisions upon that. >> ben, the whole issue of welfare organizations spending a lot of money. i don't know whether you have clients who are in this space, but to what extent, from your analysis of elections and the fairness of elections, is that a problem? or is it not? is it a red herring? >> well, i think if you're talking about providing information to voters, then the social welfare organizations on both the left and the right provide a service and a function in terms of getting out more information than there would be without them. again, i think it goes back to the system of limiting candidates. if you allow candidates to have
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sufficient funds to air all their messages, then there just simply becomes less of a need for social welfare organizations to do what they're doing or super pacs to do what they're doing, so this kind of system we've had in place since the early 1970s is really created the problem of both dark money, soft money, social welfare organizations, whatever terms you want to use for them, and super pacs. >> let me just, at this point for the benefit of the radio audience say that you're listening to the commonwealth club of california program. we're discussing the intersection of political campaigns, money and ethics. and ultimately, the future of politics in the united states -- our panelists are ann ravell, ace smith whose clients have included hillary clinton, dianne
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feinstein and jerry brown, and ben ginsberg, a veteran republican campaign strategist who is national counsel to mitt romney's campaign in 2008 and the bush/cheney campaigns of 2000 and 2004. i'm kirk hanson from santa clara university and the program moderator. you will also find video of the common wealth club programs online at the club's youtube channel. we're going to go, in a moment, to the questions, lots of good questions that you have already submitted. but there's at least two other areas which people who debate the ethics of campaigns have raised. not just the money issues that you all have raised here. but they're the issues of redistricting and gerrymandering
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and what has go on there from one party or another and the politics of voter access, be it the number of hours a poll is open or here in california now, you're automatically registered the moment you apply for a driver's license. as of yesterday, when governor brown signed that provision. are those important dimensions in your estimations to fair election campaigns? ann? it's not, i understand -- >> it's not within my purview, at least now with regard to redistricting. so i think i'll pass on that one. but the issue of voter access, i think, is important, but to follow up on something that ace said, which i think is true, the
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real issue in california, anyway, this isn't true nationwide, because obviously, we know that there are states that are trying to prohibit people from being able to vote and that is seriously problematic, but i think in california, for the most part the issue that is more important is trying to get the message out to those people who are not now voting in a, in a seriously low numbers that they're voting, technically, particularly in california but all over the country, i think it's the lowest number of people voting since world war ii. and somehow we need to, and the candidates need to, talk to the public about things that are important to them. and figure out ways to reach individuals to get them to
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understand how important it is to participate in our political system. >> and i'm not sure i have the answer to how do you change it, but i would make one observation, which is that it's kind of fascinating. if you look at turnout on elections, what's happened is that the, it will be very high during the presidential general and even in the presidential primary, and then you have these deep, deep dips and increasingly deep dips in turnout in the elections in between, municipal elections and other state-wide elections, and i, my own personal theory which i attribute it to is that the consumption news i think has changed fundamentally, and the consumption of news which used to be based upon reading newspapers which were largely locally based news made up the bottom of your news pyramid. maybe ten but for sure 20 years
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ago. and the top of the pyramid was national, international news. and we've moved to a news consumption that's quite flipped. and the local issues are seen as rather minuscule and top of the period. so i don't know how we change it. and my personal view is we consolidate elections much more. move them to presidential elections where we know there's going to be high turnout and really kind of go with what we know, you know, a pattern that is historic, and we know will be there. and i think that's probably the best solution. >> these two areas, ben, either, you know, voter access or the others? >> well, on redistricting, i was counsel at the republican national committee in the '9'90.
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and we bought a family dog at that time and named her gerrymander. so redistricting has been described as a source of polarization in the country and sort of rigging districts. on polarization, it's hard to make the argument that the center of the united states is a less polarized place than the u.s. house. there's no redistricting in the u.s. senate. there is in the house. president obama, when he won election, won 36 of 39 largest metropolitan ariaireaareas. and mitt romney won the rest. gerrymandering has nothing to do with that. so i think the evil of gerrymandering and redistricting is somewhat overblown. on ballot access, i had the honor of co-chairing the presidential commission on
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election administration with bob bauer, who's an excellent lawyer in washington and represented president obama's campaign. so we looked carefully at the issues of access to polling places. every legally qualified voter should not have any obstacles in his or her way to, when they go to vote. and that's pretty plain and simple. and so the details of that and the problems that occur tend to be very locally oriented. california, for example, has some great solutions to allowing people every opportunity to j t vote. i think that if you look at this country and the different mechanisms that states have, election administrators on the local and state level do everything they can to allow people to vote without barriers. the problem really goes back to the question we were discussing earlier about why are so many
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individuals disaffected and not turning out to vote. but i don't think it's barriers that get put in their way. >> let me go to the questions now. and there's some push back around the question of independent activities in the super pacs.


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